During my training in Plastic Surgery and General Surgery at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, I was involved in many cases of breast cancer and the reconstruction of breasts. It was some of the most important and memorable training I had, and I very nearly went into practice for breast reconstruction.
When I was a General Surgery resident, I had a patient with recurrent breast cancer who needed a very big surgery, a radical mastectomy, where we remove not only the breast, but the chest muscles and extensive lymph nodes as well. The surgery went well, and she was free of cancer.
Several years later, when I was Chief Resident in Plastic Surgery, I had the pleasure of performing breast reconstruction on her. She looked and felt whole again, and I was very gratified to know that I helped save her life and restore her form.
I finished training and went into private practice in cosmetic Plastic Surgery here in NYC. One year later, she came to see me and ended up doing a cosmetic facial procedure. Just recently, nearly 20 years after her cancer surgery, she was back for cosmetic services and in perfect health.
While I am a cosmetic plastic surgeon, I salute all of my colleagues who dedicate themselves to the noble battle against breast cancer.